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Text Alerts - Shouts

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We get text alerts on our mobiles as well as our alerters going off when we get a shout. I know a few guys rely on the text alert if they live in bad signal areas. However, I'd like to use a distinctive ringtone for the fire service text. If it was a 'normal' text from a mobile number, my phone can be configured so that it alerts me with a specific ringtone for that sender - so that I know who is calling without having to pick up my phone. I would like to do this with the fire service shout alert texts, but because the sender is 'H+WFIRE' rather than a telephone number, my phone won't do it - I've tried adding to contacts and then setting up a specific text alert sound for it, but when I get the shout alert text, it just uses my standard text ringtone . Has anyone else managed to do this? Any ideas?


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There used to be an Android app called FireAlert2 that would do what you want but this has been discontinued now. 

Not sure if there is a replacement but worth looking for notification apps, I've just had a look on my Samsung and cannot see a way of doing it natively, would be a case of having a look through apps on the app store.  If you find something but want it testing I can replicate it at my end if needed.

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Weird that the fire service hasn't addressed this - it's really a critical issue in poor alerter signal areas. One of the guys told me that the text alerts used to come from a phone number rather than from 'H+WFIRE'


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Right, ive managed to do this on my iphone, when you get a text, click on the info at the top of the message and you “should” be able to create anew contact, then its just a case of saving it as something, ive got an 🚒 emoji for mine, and then assigning a ringtone, something loud that jolts you up. This is mine ( starts at 27 seconds )

Great for when im in the supermarket, about as popular as a dose of piles in a full dorm when im on my WT duty

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Let me know if it works when you have a text alert for a shout. On my phone, for some reason it reverts to the phone's original text alert noise rather than the one I've added (twin tones sounding)

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Although not the Fire Service so I'm not sure how the texts are sent from the FRS point of view but we had this issue with our pagers for the Lifeboat Crew I'm in. If you can't add it as a new contact on iPhone or the text alert noise defaults to standard, we managed to get around it by following:


1. Open the text message and click on the contact at the top of the screen.


2. Press "Audio" and it will call the hidden number, cancel it straight away.


3. Head to "Recent Calls" and select the "Info" button, then you can click "Create New Contact" and save it with the custom text tone (+ emergency bypass etc if needed).

This had worked with the custom text alert because it had recognized the number when you called it to add it to contacts.

Not sure if it'll help but thought it'd be worth sharing as this came from conversations we had with Apple about this issue.

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Has the issue of bad signal been raised with Brigade?  They can do things such as boost signal or say for example at home have a pager wired into an aerial mounted outside.  

Again the name the text come from and been unable to set a tone might be something that needs raising, easy enough to fix at the other end in theory but if they are not aware of the issue there isn't anything they can do.

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I expect the lifeboat text alerts are probably the same as ours. 

The signal issue isn't a problem for me, as I can see the fire station transmitter from where I live/work. However, the firefighter who lives up the road has a big problem - he has three pagers, and we phone him as well to be on the safe side - sometimes his pagers go off, sometimes they don't. He's asked about a signal booster, but it does take a lot of time to get stuff like this sorted out, and he's already been on the run for several weeks.

I'll definitely speak to the guys in control about this if I can't get it sorted, but figured I should spend a bit of time trying things out before I trouble them with it. Our station is only getting a shout about once a fortnight at the moment, so I need to wait until our next shout so that I can check if it's working this time -it's dead quiet at the moment for some reason.

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It's not really a control issue but a comms/IT issue, its their issue to sort it so bug them, if they don't know about it they cannot fix it (I work in IT so can say that).  They get paid to do this.  It could just be a power boost needed at the station or there could be another issue with the alerter cabinet or radio inference in the area.

It could be a simple fix for them, but get control to do weekly alerter tests on drill night or another night rather than waiting for a shout.

The other option is for tricky areas I know some brigades don't rely on local transmitter on station but use wide area paging (would work anywhere in the UK) but there is costs to it and they may not already use it but more chance of that working than local but in the first instance get onto to them, raise a job with the right team and get them to test everything on station, do some alerter tests which they can do without affecting station pagers.

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Some of our guys use text alert, they had a custom tone for the texts. They are on Apple phones so guess they used the advice above.

We just did a trial on an alerting app, I had it for a bit but unsure if its because we trialed on the lite version and not the full but you could not acknowledge the 'alert' so the phone would sound on full volume for 8 seconds, great when at work etc but when its 4:30am and the kids are light sleepers (safe to say the Mrs was far from happy!). Also you had to open the app to cancel the 30 second reminder bleeps. Seemed to work really well, but was battery heavy. Wait and see if they use it.   

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I tried the call record method that JamieB recommended, but it isn't possible with an android phone, as there isn't the option to call back someone who has texted.  I'll try to find the IT contact number for our brigade and ask their advice. My problem is that I have many texts daily as I use the phone for my business. So the only way to safeguard against my alerter failing is to check every text immediately, which is a bit of a pain!


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Another option is to buy a cheap pay as you go phone and have that receive your text alerts, at least you wouldnt be checking your business phone all the time. Sadly my station have had this issue with a couple of lads ( one was given three alerters ) we asked about the option of one of the officers pagers for two who lived a bit far out but it was met with a no. The alerter issue shouldve been checked before you started by the comms dept

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12 hours ago, Ivan said:

but it isn't possible with an android phone, as there isn't the option to call back someone who has texted.  

You can on my phone which is definitely Android.  I go in to the text thread, two dots menu top right to bring up more options, Sender Details, Call.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Ivan. It is possible as I have it set up on my phone.  

Go into your text messages and go into the text alert thread. Press the 3 dots in the top right corner which brings up a menu.  Choose "Details" and then "notifications." 

From there you can select a text tone and also choose to override your silent mode by choosing allow interruptions. 

Screenshot_20211028_000059_com.google.android_apps.messaging.thumb.jpg.2d728eba90a29876575f4158e9aa0399.jpg         Screenshot_20211028_000900_com.huawei.systemmanager.thumb.jpg.c204622a01c8cc7314202bf391568152.jpg

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  • 4 months later...

Up until recently my mobilising texts to my phone from the control number were set by me to ‘Old Car Horn’ which certainly stood out from the regular text tone.

But following an OIS update a couple of months back and despite setting the tone to the number again it didn’t work 🙄🤷🏽‍♂️

Any ideas you techno savvy kids? 🤔

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